A Word in Your Ear

Twisted Nerve / XL

Pastoral rock at its finest. In a way, it seems counterproductive to use the word “rock” when describing this, since there is very little rocking going on, unless you think of it in terms of rocking in a chair or in mother’s arms. Alfie’s particular take on music will be familiar and instantly likeable by fans of Belle And Sebastian, The High Llamas, Gorky’s Zygotic Minci, or even the unheralded parents of the genre, acts like James, The Chills, and The Judybats. Go further back, and you’re in Beach Boys territory. Chiming guitars figure heavily, as do thick, lush harmonies, gently brushed drumming and a full-time cello player. But even with these influential and instrumental references, something is still missing from the equation. Vocalist Lee Gordon puts it best, “We are a punk band. Why? We do exactly what we want. We don’t sound like anyone else.” They don’t, not really.

Highlights include “Not Half,” a mid-paced waltz where a strong guitar figure dances with vibraphone and trumpets. “The Lighthouse Keeper,” the closing track, is slow and measured, a bit of plucked acoustic guitar pacing like a grandfather clock while the vocals float above it like an offhand lullaby. Other tracks are as unique and full of personality, brimming with vocal hooks and clever arrangements. Highly recommended.

Twisted Nerve: • Alfie:

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